Hakham Yehuda Ha'Levi Poem 1586

This is called "Me Kamochu." It was written by Hakham Yehuda Ha'Levi. It was printed in 1586 in Venice by Juan DiGara. It is a liturgical poetry written beginning with the words "Adon Chasdcha Bal Yechdal." It was meant to be recited on the Sabbath proceeding Purim Shabbat Zachor.

It was translated into many languages, including Italian, Latin, Spanish, German, Arabic and Persian, as it became popular among Jewish communities throughout the world.

A fascinating story is told on the authorship of this poem. It appears that the poem sat for many weeks with the last two stanzas incomplete, due to a mental block of the Author. One day, as he was being harassed by his wife to find his unwed princess a proper match he exploded with "the next male in pants through the door receives my daughter’s hand in marriage." Alas, a decrepit, smelly beggar comes through the door - Hakham Yehudah, aghast but unable to retreat on his word he engages the newcomer in conversation. To his utter dismay he discovers the newcomer to be a total ignoramus. "How can I take this individual for a son-in-law," he repeatedly asks.

Not having a choice in the matter, he decides to train the young man and make a "learned gentleman" of him. The training goes on for weeks with no progress. One day the new son-in-law wanders into the study and finds the uncompleted manuscript on the table - without a second though he draws the quill and completes the final two stanzas. When Yehudah discovers the poem completed, he demands to know who completed the poem. Eventually the new son-in-law admits to the deed and reveals himself to be Hakham Abraham ibn Ezra.

While there may be some historical questions as to the validity of the story - it nevertheless remains wedded to the poem.

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